18 June 2010

I won the lottery

In the late 1980s, if word had spread that Bette Midler was starring in a comedy being directed by Garry Marshall, the impending success of such a film would have been palatable. While most people can remember this dream connection working together on the Touchstone picture Beaches, few remember their smaller film, The Lottery.

The Lottery was a 2 minute and 40 second short film about a music teacher in New York City that realizes she has just won the lottery. Unfortunately for her, her ticket flies out the window and is carried away by a pigeon. Bette Midler, playing the teacher, climbs out onto building ledges, hangs from clotheslines, zooms down the sidewalk in a cart, flips into the subway, and is nearly run over by a train in the pursuit of the pigeon and her fluttering ticket. In the end, she believes her ticket had been destroyed by a passing subway train, only to have the pigeon return it to her, the pigeon is, in turn, rewarded with a giant pigeon statue by the music teacher. It should be noted, that Garry Marshall not only directed this film, but also had a small part as a man offering Bette Midler warnings from the subway platform.

The film was the first to be shot entirely at the Disney-MGM Studios. Soundstages sets were designed for interior and some special effects shots, while exteriors were shot along New York Street, what would one day become part of the Streets of America. The Lottery was in a very limited engagement, as the short and its sets could only be seen as part of the Backstage Studio Tour. In fact, the sole purpose of the production was to give guests a better understanding of the various elements that went into producing a film, if it did only last a little over two and a half minutes.

Today, The Lottery has long been retired to the Disney vault, its most recent showing during a presentation for Disney-MGM Studios/Disney’s Hollywood Studios 20th anniversary. While the film itself may be a thing of the past, much of New York Street still appears as it did in the film, and the subway train used in the film can be seen in the prop warehouse guests walk through before boarding their tram in the current incarnation of the Studio Backlot Tour.


Matt said...

The Lottery brings back a lot of memories. Too bad they didn't do any other films since they to showcase how films are made by shooting them at the Studios.

Great job this entire week supporting International Hollywood Studios Awareness Week!

Disneyphemera said...

I fondly remember this little show. There were several others that were part of the walking part of the Backlot Tour. I remember a George Lucas one, Dick Tracy, to mention a few. I've been scouring the internet to try and find a clip of The Lottery, but, no luck yet. Hope to see it again soon.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Matt, it really does seem a waste that they didn't produce more features, even short ones, at the Studios. What could have been, right?

Scott, here's a link just for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3JFF64IOow

Jason G. said...

I definitely remember this from my first few visits in the early '90s. Seems by the time I reconnected in the new millennium it was gone. It's not exactly Horizons, but it still part of my memories of those first years of the Studios. It's things like this that make the Studios seem so much less a Studio.